CPT International 02/2016


The leading technical journal for the
global foundry industry – Das führende Fachmagazin für die
weltweite Gießerei-Industrie








Good molding sand –

good castings!

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Innovations for a better world.


Germany’s foundry sector

– a family-oriented branch

of industry!

Albert Handtmann’s foundry in Biberach in southern Germany is the country’s

largest family-owned light-metal foundry. In addition to Biberach, Handtmann

Holding operates other foundries in Annaberg in Saxony, Košice in

Slovakia, and Tianjin in China. This family-run global player – characterized

by hard work, productivity, innovations, and, as in this case, expansions – is

our figurehead for the German foundry industry in this issue. The company is

embodied by the 88- year-old Albert Handtmann, who took over management

in 1945 but has now passed it on to his son. Read our company portrait

from P. 36.

Innovations in material development and plant technology make up a large

proportion of our summer issue. For material development we turn our attention

to trimal-37, an alloy of aluminum, silicon and manganese, from which

cast nodes that are weight-optimized but nevertheless extremely stable are

produced for vehicle bodies. We present other interesting examples of applications

for the material in our article from P. 8.

Our author Herbert Smetan describes a sophisticated casting system: dynamic

tilt casting on low-pressure casting machines. It is used for casting highly

stressed cylinder heads. The casting system enables turbulence-free mold filling

with absolutely clean and oxide-free metal. Read more from P. 23.

The appearance of CASTING in late June 2016 signals the opening of the international

Automatica trade fair in Munich (21 - 24 June). In addition to Industry

4.0 (the trendy topic of our time), involving the intermeshing of industrial

production with state-of-the-art information and communication

technology, the fair will also focus on robotics and other industrial automation

solutions. European foundries do not lag behind here: KUKA robots clean casting

molds at the BMW light-metal foundry in Landshut. They are ‘taught’ their

tasks by foundry employees (from P. 34). Magma 5 simulation software permits

the stable casting of oversized frame components at the Swiss foundry DGS

Druckguss (from P. 28).

Have a good read!

Robert Piterek, e-mail: robert.piterek@bdguss.de

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 3



with Till Schreiter

“Demand is shifting towards high-performance applications” 6


Kleine, Andreas; Böhmer, Franz-Heinrich; Hoffmann, Ellen; Koch, Hubert

Alloy trimal-37 in modern car body applications 8

Vollrath, Klaus

Mercedes C-Class: the great stride to aluminium casting 12


Trauzeddel, Dietmar

Pouring furnaces and pouring devices – state of the art and development

targets 16


Smetan, Herbert

Dynamic tilt casting with low-pressure die casting machines 23


Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich GmbH & Co KG

Walldürner Str. 50

74736 Hardheim

Tel: + 49 6283 510

Fax: + 49 6283 51 325




Malashonak, Vadim

Increasing blasting efficiency through innovative blasting media 26


Schmidt, Axel

DGS produces one of the largest die cast parts worldwide 28

Read our News on Eirich on page 41

16 28

Casting furnaces and devices for cast iron are an integral

part of the molding lines. Since its development inductive ly

heated furnaces with compressed air emptying found a firm

place in foundries (Photo: Dietmar Trauzeddel)

DGS Druckguss produces frames for hot water solar panels.

The production was changed from welded extrusion molded

parts to aluminium die castings. The castings are amongst

the largest die cast parts worldwide (Photo: DGS Druckguss)


2 | 2016



Nowaczyk, Christof

Core shooting simulation – to the economic and environmental advantage of the

foundry 30


Schwarzbach, Laura

Well guided 34


Hardke, Karin

The Handtmann Group – a family company with a future 36


Editorial 3

News in brief 40

Brochures 44

Fairs and congresses / Advertisers´ index 46

Preview of the next issue/Imprint 47


Albert Handtmann Metallgusswerk in Biberach is Germany’s largest family-owned light-metal foundry. Arthur Handtmann took over his

parent’s small foundry in 1945, in the following decades the company developed into an efficient, innovative and value-oriented global player

with production sites in China, Slowakia and Germany. Today the 88-year old entrepreneur has no time for retirement – there is too much to

be done (Photo: Klaus Bolz)


“Demand is shifting towards

high-performance applications”

Interview with Till Schreiter, Managing Director of the ABP Induction Systems GmbH in

Dortmund, Germany, since April 2015

Till Schreiter is the new Managing Director of ABP Induction Systems. The company considers itself a supplier of sustainable

induction systems with short payback times and many customer advantages (Photos: ABP)

ABP Induction Systems in Dortmund

has celebrated its 10-year jubilee last

November. As the new Managing Director,

how do you see the history of

your still-young company?

ABP emerged from the process automation

division of Asea Brown Boveri

(ABB), which already had a more than

one-hundred-year tradition of constructing

induction plants. With this

historical record behind us, we have

written our own short history and

made ABP into a company with its

own distinctive profile. We are now

one of the leading suppliers for inductive

melting and heating. And our customers

from the foundry, forging and

steel industries are often world market

leaders themselves. As a result of use

in the automotive supply industry, in

particular, ABP furnaces have been involved

in the production of millions

of parts with high value creation. The

Dortmund site is also growing – and is

a dependable employer and taxpayer.

ABP’s business is going well. You currently

sell numerous melting furnaces

worldwide, including in China and

India. Which furnaces are particularly

popular and why?

Most of our business is with furnaces

with a capacity of 2 - 35 t. Whereby

we are increasingly observing that

demand is shifting towards high-performance

applications. So, for example,

we commissioned a 30-t furnace

with an induction power of 24 MW at

a major customer of ours, and we actually

followed this up with a furnace

with a melting capacity of 65 t and induction

power of 42 MW. These fur-

6 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

naces are particularly popular because

production and batch quantities, particularly

for the automotive industry,

are constantly growing. In the field of

forming technology, we were able to

convince the largest Chinese automotive

supplier of the quality of a heating

plant with intelligent heat recovery –

installation has taken place in spring


Induction furnace production at ABP in Dortmund

In April 2015 you replaced Dr. Wolfgang

Andree, who had been Managing

Director for many years. What is

your strategy for the future?

ABP considers itself a supplier of sustainable

induction systems with short

payback times and many customer

advantages. We believe that the quality

of our employees is an important

feature that differentiates us from the

competition. As a result of continuous

growth in recent years, we have been

able to build up special problem-solving

competence with a mix of experienced

and young personnel. Perhaps

this is why we are able to test new technologies

or adapt to our customers’ requirements

particularly rapidly. A sustainable

product management system

means, for example, that we have a

dense network of local service workshops

for the important after-market

business. And we want to be even more

flexible in future regarding production



CastTec 2016

The world of cast iron materials – Diversity for the future“

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Machining of a die casting at the Trimet die casting foundry in Harzgerode (Photos and Graphics: Trimet)

Authors: Andreas Kleine, Franz-Heinrich Böhmer, Ellen Hoffmann, Trimet Aluminium SE, Harzgerode, and Hubert

Koch, Trimet Aluminium SE, Essen

Alloy trimal-37 in modern car body


Pressure die cast hubs made of the aluminium alloy trimal-37 are used in car body construction

to achieve a weight-optimized self-supporting framework structure


In the past, various trends, such as

growing safety requirements, higher

powered engines and the demand for

increased comfort, have led to a constant

increase in vehicle weight. In

order to be able to meet future CO 2

emission targets, it is indispensible to

markedly reduce the weight of cars.

In this context, car body construction

plays a key role, last but not least

due to the growing share of the lightweight

construction material aluminium.

This article focuses on what is generally

referred to as cast hubs, namely

multifunctional pressure die castings

of complex geometries, which in

combination with extruded profiles

and metal panels make a car body a

self-supporting structure.

The alloy trimal-37

The trimal-37 alloy (AlSi9Mn) has outstanding

casting properties. Its iron

content of < 0.15 % inhibits the formation

of coarse intermetallic phases.

This makes trimal-37 highly ductile

even in the as-cast state. The ductility

is further enhanced by modifying the

alloy with strontium, which results in

a fine eutectic silicon phase. Ductility

8 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Alloy State R p0.2

in MPa R m

in MPa A in % Hardness inHB

F 120 - 140 250 - 290 8 - 15 80 - 90


O 100 - 120 200 - 240 10 - 18 65 - 75

Table 1: Static mechanical properties of the alloy trimal-37. F = as-cast; O = soft-annealed

can be increased even further by a TO

heat treatment. The manganese content

in the alloy prevents adhesion to

the mold. This ensures that especially

highly complex structural castings

with extensive surface areas can be

easily removed from the mold. The elements

zircon and vanadium provide

the necessary strength at room temperature

and ensure that the requirements

in terms of short-time as well

as long-time thermal stability are securely

met. The mechanical properties

of trimal-37 are summarized in

Table 1 [1].

Examples of application of


Hinge mounting element for the


The hinge mounting element is a corner

element in the rear end roof structure

of the AUDI Q7. Actually, it forms

the vertex of three coordinates: the

longitudinal roof beam, the transverse

roof beam and the side beam. It

has been designed to also accommodate

the hinge of the rear hatch.

The die cast hinge mounting element

(Figure 1) features excellent stiffness

due to the design of the ribbed

structure tailored to the load acting on

the part and the high yield strength of

trimal-37. As the casting is used in its

as-cast state, the part is also free from

distortions, ensuring that the exacting

geometric tolerance specifications are

met. The innovative multi-material design

of the AUDI Q7 calls for the use of

self-pierce riveting systems to join materials

as diverse as steel and aluminium

panels and extruded aluminium

profiles with the casting.

As shown in Figure 2, the riveting

joint is set by positioning the top material

layer (aluminium sheet) and the

bottom layer (trimal-37, wall thickness

approx. 2.5 mm) between the

downholder and a die. A stamp inside

the downholder then presses the


Figure 1: a) Front and b) back view of the die casting: Hinge mounting unit

for the Audi Q7 (CAD image); dimensions: 630 x 530 x 70 mm; weight: 3.4 kg

Figure 2: Process steps of self-pierce riveting (courtesy: Böllhoff) [3]

Figure 3: Cross-section of joint made with a self-pierce rivet


Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 9



Figure 4: a) Front and b) back view of the die cast heel board for the AUDI

A8 (CAD image); dimensions: 440 x 210 x 240 mm; weight: 2.1 kg


Figure 5: Micrograph of a welded joint: a) microsection, b) image analysis;

porosity: 3.6%



self-piercing semi-tubular rivet into

the double-layer material. The rivet

penetrates through the aluminium

sheet and is spread in the lower material

made of trimal-37 under the influence

of the die [2, 3]. Due to the high

ductility and excellent forming properties

of trimal-37, there is no risk of

cracks forming in the lower material

due to the spreading of the rivet. As

the lower material made of trimal-37 is

not pierced, the resulting joint is localized

and impervious to gas and liquid.

This form-closed joint is very strong.

Figure 3 illustrates the suitability of trimal-37

to be joined with another material

by self-pierce riveting.

Heel board for the AUDI A8

The heel board (Figure 4) is a key component

in the rear floor structure of the

AUDI A8. It connects, for example, the

transmission hump with the floor panels.

Besides mechanical joining by selfpierce

rivets or flow-drill screws, thermal

joining by MIG welding (metal

inert-gas welding) plays an important

role in this application. In combination

with a process-compatible

mold design, optimized coating of the

mold with release agents developed for

Figure 6: Cross member of the battery pan in the Porsche 991 II (CAD image); dimensions: 830 x 130 x 70 mm; weight:

1.2 kg

10 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

this particular application and a vacuum-supported

casting process, trimal-37

provides superior weldability.

Figure 5 shows an example of a MIG

welded joint between a die casting

made of trimal-37 and an aluminium

panel using AlSi12 wire as filler metal.

The welded joint was made as part of

an accompanying test of a series production

run. As the image analysis

shows, the welded joint features 3.6 %

porosity. Thus it easily achieves the

specified maximum porosity of 10 %.

Cross member for battery pan

in the Porsche 991 II

The cross member shown in Figure 6

has the function to securely fix the battery

within the engine compartment

of the car body. For this purpose, the

ends of the cross member are screwed

to mounting brackets.

The cross member must feature a

specified flexural rigidity under defined

conditions of use. This is ensured

by the specific cross member design allowing

the part to cope with the typical

stresses of the application and by the

good strength properties of trimal-37.


The described examples of application

demonstrate the versatility of trimal-37

in modern car body construction. The

material’s suitability for self-pierce riveting

as well as its good weldability and

formability are basic conditions for the

application of all joining methods relevant

in this area.

By maintaining material development

and testing activities at different

locations and by interdisciplinary

collaboration and the use of most advanced

development and testing techniques,

Trimet is capable of providing

– in a timely manner – practice-oriented

solutions as the basis for innovative

product development.

Trimet covers all essential phases of

component development, from the

conceptual phase via the design phase

using all relevant CAD systems, including

numerical simulations of the

pouring and solidification processes,

through to prototype casting and investigations

concerning the behaviour

of a component. Trimet’s in-house tool

making facilities and the other process

steps performed in-house, including

heat treatment, machining, surface

treatment, completion and assembly

form the basis for a rapid implementation

of the product idea into a product

ready for installation.



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Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 11


Author: Klaus Vollrath, Aarwangen, Switzerland

Mercedes C-Class: the great stride

to aluminum casting

Hybrid bodies with mass-produced aluminum structural castings

Mercedes Benz; C-Class T-Model (Photo: Daimler AG)

The body of the new C-Class is the first

for Mercedes, which has completed the

step from the former steel structure to

a composite construction (Figure 1)

for large-scale serial production. The

combination of high-strength steels

and aluminum makes it possible to design

the car considerably lighter, while

improving comfort, driving characteristics

and passenger protection. Such a

conversion of production technology

is a truly Herculean task with numerous

risks when undertaken on a large

scale – four sites manufacturing up to

2,000 vehicles every day. The challenges

for the specialists – charged with the

task of making the appropriate technology

so controllable that a smooth

worldwide supply of the necessary

parts could be guaranteed – were correspondingly


“As a result of the transition to an

innovative aluminum hybrid design

Daimler, in Stuttgart, Germany, has

been able to save about 70 kg in the

body-in-white of the new C-Class,”

says Axel Schmidt (Figure 2), Manager

of Technology, Development and

Project Management at DGS Druckguss

Systeme in St. Gallen, Switzerland. This

represents a weight saving of about 20-

25 % of the total weight of the bodyin-white,

depending on the vehicle

variant – an important contribution towards

reducing fuel consumption and

the emission of CO 2

. The fuel consumption

of the Bluetec C180 and C200 basis

versions is only 3.8 l diesel/100 km with

emissions of 99 g CO 2

/100 km. In order

to achieve this success, the engineers

had to completely redesign the bodyin-white

while extensively exploiting

aluminum castings, hot-formed steel

components, and ultra-high-strength

steels. Moreover, all the body parts visible

externally are also made of aluminum.

Ultimately, vehicle weight has

been reduced by about 100 kg.

12 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

The advantages of extensive

aluminum structural castings

“The new body contains a total of

seven large-scale aluminum castings,”

adds Axel Schmidt. These seven components

together only weigh 19.2 kg.

Castings were used because these parts

had to have a very complex geometry

with numerous reinforcements and

wall thickness transitions. The suspension

strut consoles of the predecessor

model consisted of five steel parts,

while a total of 13 parts were required

for the rear-axle cross-members. The

advantage of using aluminum castings

in these areas lies not only in the considerably

lower specific weight compared

to steel, but above all in the significantly

greater degree of freedom for

the designers, who can create even very

complicated geometries with load-oriented

wall thickness transitions and

deep rib structures or projections –

without having to worry about restrictions

or additional joining processes.

The advantages are considerable, not

only regarding weight, the number

of individual parts, and the necessary

joining operations, but also in view of

reduced quality-assurance costs.

The transition to worldwide

mass production

“For us, the actual challenge in this

project lay in jointly developing (together

with Daimler and another

partner) the process technology for

large-series production on a worldwide

scale,” explains Axel Schmidt.

Daimler had systematically prepared itself

for this conversion for many years

(Figure 3). The initial steps were the

fully aluminum bodies for the sports

car models SLS AMG and SL in smallscale

production. These were followed

in 2013 by the introduction of hybrid

bodies made of aluminum and steel in

the S-Class, with daily volumes of up

to 550 units – already corresponding

to mid-scale serial production. The introduction

of the new C-Class in 2014

marked the final step towards largescale

production of up to 2,000 units a

day. Which made it mandatory to ensure

that identical standards – regarding

the design, the process technology

in the vehicle production plant, the

Figure 1: Aluminum structural castings in the body-in-white of the new C-Class:

suspension strut consoles (1+2), rear side members (3+4), mountings for shock

absorbers (5+6), and rear axle cross-member (7) (Graphics: Daimler AG)

package of connecting parts, quality

definitions, and the so-called MB standard

– were maintained worldwide at

all four production sites (Germany,

the USA, South Africa and China) and

by all six suppliers. The casting suppliers

had to observe worldwide uniform

specifications for tools, alloys, castings

and heat-treatment parameters,

as well as for inspection and straightening


Top-quality technology development

“The invitation to join this development

team was the result of hard work,

which earned us a reputation as a technology

pioneer in the area of producing

large structural castings made of

aluminum and magnesium,” according

to Axel Schmidt. The company

had built up comprehensive mutual

trust in development partnerships

over many years. The team’s task was

to create all the prerequisites for the

timely start of production of the new

C-Class with four start-of-production

deadlines on four continents – within

just seven months. This involved

developing and optimizing the cost

structures, production chains, and

qualification concepts. It was necessary

to define joint standards for processes,

tools, specifications and quality

Figure 2: “The absolute key to success

ultimately remains the expertise to

precisely master one’s own processes

– and the subsequent optimization of

the costs situation,” stresses Axel Schmidt

(Photo: Johannes Müller)

inspections in order to ensure comparable

production processes and results.

This meant going into details such as

the extent of punching and machining

processes, the positioning and clamping

points for the mechanical processing,

or the removal points for material

samples. Further aspects involved the

frames and the parameters for heat

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 13


treatment, the straightening concept

(including a binding design for the

alignment gauges), or a uniform packaging

and dispatch concept.

Other aspects were also required to

ensure a smooth worldwide supply of

all the production sites with the necessary

structural castings. For example,

it was indispensable to work out strategies

and procedures for the qualification

of new suppliers and sites that had

no experience of such structural castings.

The design and implementation

of serial production in China presented

perhaps the greatest challenge in

this project due to differences in the

level of mastery of the technologies

and in local mentality, the time shift

and, last but not least, the language

problem. “We at DGS are particularly

proud of being the first European

die-caster to have accepted and successfully

mastered this enormous challenge,”

says a satisfied Axel Schmidt.

Casting the rear side members

“We produce four of the seven structural

castings for the body: the two

rear side members (Figure 4) and the

two front suspension strut consoles,”

says Axel Schmidt. At its St. Gallen

works, DGS came up with a particularly

innovative casting concept for

the side members with dimensions

of 480 x 315 x 290 mm, a component

weight of 1.4 kg, and wall thicknesses

of 2.0 - 3.0 mm. For the first time,

such large structural castings were

produced in a four-cavity mold on a

Carat 320 die casting machine from

Bühler, which is the largest installed

casting cell in Switzerland, with a closing

force of 3,200 t. After casting, the

parts are cooled in water and individualized

by stamping. Then they are immediately

placed on the specially designed

component holding fixtures

of the heat-treatment racks in preparation

for a two-step heat treatment.

This gives the castings the specified

mechanical characteristics: tensile

strength R m

≥180 MPa, yield strength

R p 0.2

≥ 120 MPa and elongation at break

A5 ≥ 10 %. An additional criterion is a

bending angle of at least 60 % to fracture

determined on a flat sample. This

criterion proves the suitability of the

material for joining by means of punch


Particularly high demands had to be

met regarding the absence of defects in

the castings. Casting takes place under

high vacuum to ensure perfect microstructures.

The melt is carefully refined

before casting and flushed with inert

gas in order to prevent gas and solid inclusions

in the castings. Strict specifications

apply for the selection and applications

rules for mold release agents

and plunger lubricants. Special requirements

also apply for the microstructural

and surface quality of the parts, particularly

regarding the subsequent joining

processes during body assembly.

Production of the parts for installation

in Germany and South Africa – up

to 370,000 units a year – takes place at

the DGS parent plant in St. Gallen in

Switzerland, while the Chinese DGS

subsidiary in Nansha produces up to

130,000 units per year for China. The

Mexican supplier Bocar – which entered

into a close collaboration with

DGS during the course of this project –

is responsible for supplying the Daimler

works in the USA.

Manual straightening

“One of the secrets of our success is the

limitation of tension-related warping

to a level that can be corrected by relatively

simple adjustments,” reveals

Schmidt. In practice, warpage is virtually

unavoidable with such large

and thin-walled components. This is

mainly due to internal stresses resulting

from the casting and stamping

processes and further exacerbated by

heat treatment. The trick is to master

the process so skilfully as to minimize

these deformations – this sorts the

good casters from the rest. As the part

Figure 3: The step-up to mass production requires the clarification and mastering of the most varied of details. This is

why it has been systematically prepared via several models over many years (Graphics: Dr. Pfitzer, Daimler AG)

14 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Figure 4: The rear side members

made of the alloy AlSi10MnMgSr

have dimensions of 480 x 315 x

290 mm and only weigh about

1.4 kg each as a result of their low

wall thicknesses of just 2 - 3 mm

(Photo: Klaus Vollrath)

shape for ensuring tight gap dimensions

– also in order to limit the joining

gap for adhesive seams – may only

deviate by a maximum of ± 0.5 mm

from the CAD dimensions, every casting

must be inspected and, if necessary,


DGS decided to make straightening

a manual process in order to be

able to profit from further process improvements,

i.e. minimizing of deformations.

An automated straightening

process would require enormous investments

and only be used for one specific

component. Once installed, implementation

of a subsequent optimization of

straightening would no longer provide

any major economic benefit.

In the manual straightening process

the part is examined on an electronic

measurement system before

the diverging locations are manually

straightened by experienced specialists.

Experience and a feeling for the

parts are the most important prerequisites

for a rapid and reliable straightening

process. The straightening process

is only completed when the measurement

system provides an ‘in order’ result

for all the specified positions.

Fully automated further processing

“The further processing steps take

place with the help of robotized automated

systems,” explains Schmidt.

Grinding, which serves to prepare the

parts for the subsequent joining processes

in body construction, is particularly

important. Grinding takes place

in a fully encapsulated cell, in which

several robots process the parts on different

conveyor belts with a variety

of grinding disks and brushes. The final

station is a combined processing/

assembly plant, in which the receiving

threads for screwing onto the back

axle are added and reinforced with a

mounted stainless steel Helicoil. The

thread is formed on a Milltap 700 CNC

processing center from DMG with a

special tool, and then the thread insert

is fully automatically mounted in

a specially developed assembly system.

What distinguishes this station is its

complete monitoring of the mounting

process regarding the screw-in torque

value, the position of the mounted Helicoils

and, last but not least, removal

of the Helicoil tang.

Mastering the production

process as the key to cost optimization

“One of the decisive prerequisites for

our success is the ability to reliably

keep production processes under control

within the tightest possible limits,”

explains Axel Schmidt. The narrower

the achievable property range can be

kept, the closer one can approach the

limit values demanded by customers

regarding part properties. Many quality-determining

process steps, such as

heat treatment, are cost-intensive. It

is, in effect, giving away money if, as

a result of major process fluctuations,

one achieves 20 % elongation at break

instead of the required 10 %. There are

also frequently further disadvantages,

such as higher reject rates due to blister

formation and stronger deformations

because of this type of heat treatment.

Customers, however, only pay for exactly

what they asked for and specified.

The same applies for agreed tolerances

and inspections. In order to be

able to act successfully here one must,

of course, have as precise a knowledge

as possible about the process chain and

its main parameters and interactions

such as, for example, the effect of the

individual elements in the alloy. These

interactions also apply regarding the

question of to what extent which stages

in the entire process chain can be automated.

Of course, each automation

process has the positive effect that one

can better control and document the

parameters of the particular sub-process.

On the other hand, however, automation

involves additional costs.

Complete automation of the production

process, therefore, does not necessarily

create an optimal solution. “The

absolute key to success ultimately remains

the expertise to precisely master

one’s own processes – and the subsequent

optimization of the costs situation.

Thanks to this capability, we are

able to act successfully on fiercely competitive

international markets despite

high domestic wage levels,” stresses

Axel Schmidt.


Picture galery showing

the manufacturing

process at DGS

Druckguss in St. Gallen,



Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 15


Overall view of an induction-heated pouring furnace (Photos and Graphics: Dietmar Trauzeddel)

Author: Dietmar Trauzeddel, Simmerath-Lammersdorf

Pouring furnaces and pouring

devices – state of the art and

development targets

Part 1: Pouring furnaces


The following article deals with pouring

furnaces and pouring devices for

cast iron that form an integral part of

molding lines and are therefore essentially

stationary, i.e., capable of only

limited movement at the mold line.

The need to develop and use automatic

pouring furnaces or pouring devices

for mold casting processes arose from

a specific set of requirements. Thus, on

the one hand, in manual pouring from

a ladle the pouring parameters vary

too much with the individual operator’s

skills and daily form. As a result,

the process is barely reproducible and

the achievable weight precision is insufficient,

amounting to approx. 5 %

according to [1]. On the other hand,

there are the production conditions resulting

from an increasing automation

of the molding process. On high-output

molding machines of the type

commonly used in high-volume production,

the cycle time often amounts

to as little as 6 – 15 s. Within this interval

the system must manoeuver into

the pouring position and fill the mold.

Moreover, this needs to be achieved

with a variable pouring rate corresponding

to the mold’s intake capacity

while ensuring a high repeatability

and accuracy of the optimized pouring

profile. The specific location of the

mold’s sprue cup must be reached accurately

within the available time win-

16 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

dow. In addition, it is necessary to keep

the pouring temperature and metal

composition within close tolerances

while also providing for a temporary

melt storage capability.

The development and manufacture

of air-pressurized induction-heated

pouring furnaces in the 1960s and

the subsequent arrival of the stopper-controlled

dosing system satisfied

the above demands, enabling this type

of pouring furnace – further improved

and optimized – to become a fixture in

foundries everywhere today.

Pouring devices – a term denoting all

unheated melt dispensing units – can

be distinguished into the following basic

categories, depending on the pouring

technique employed:

» lip pouring from a tilting vessel,

» stopper-controlled pouring with

gravity flow and

» stopper-controlled pouring with

pressurized flow

Pouring furnace

Pouring device

Capacity 2–50 t 0,6–3,2 t

Pouring time 30 min 5–10 min

Temperature drop 0,5 °C/min 5–10 °C/min

Temperature accuracy +/- 5 K 25–50 K

Pouring rate 1–40** kg/s 2–20 kg/s

Alloy change 4–5 h 1 min

Vessel change 12–16 h 1 min

Simultaneous filling and pouring yes no

Use as a buffer limited no

Automatic dosing and pouring yes yes

Slag-free pouring yes yes

Holding of Mg-treated cast iron yes no

Molding machine specs.

Pouring weight

Cycle times

* Pouring device: Tilting ladle principle

** depending on nozzle diameter chosen

*** use of two pouring devices extends the range

wide range

wide range

small to medium ***

small to medium ***

Table 1: Technical comparison of pouring furnace and pouring device*

Figure 1: Basic data of some existing pouring furnaces

Pouring devices have come to supplement

the range of pouring furnaces

and are often used to address

particular requirements. It should be

remembered at this point that on unpressurized

stopper-controlled pouring

devices the bath level drops in the

pouring spout area. This is not the

case with pressurized units, i.e., these

pouring devices on principle resemble

a pouring furnace, except that they are

unheated. As shall be pointed out below,

some systems of this type can be

retrofitted with an inductor to make

them heatable. It should also be mentioned

that the use of electromagnetic

forces for conveying and dosing the

melt flow has not found its way into

industrial practice, with a few exceptions

in the industry of the former Soviet


As regards the methods used to manage

and control the dispensing flow

rate, the pouring furnace and pouring

device do not differ fundamentally,

except in terms of the pouring operation

itself. The melt flow can be controlled

by adhering to a stored pouring

curve, or else by weight, by time or

by the melt level in the sprue cup. A

combination of these, i.e., a flow control

scheme based on a stored pouring

curve plus time, is also feasible.

Comparison between pouring

furnace and pouring device

This comparison has been carried out

for the two fundamentally different

equipment types, i.e., the unheated

unit which is tilted for pouring (ladle

principle) and the induction-heated

pouring furnace. A summary of

this technical comparison is given in

Table 1.

A particular advantage of the pouring

device lies in its ability to support

quick alloy and vessel changes, as well

as in its more straightforward refractory

lining. Its capacity is usually rated

such that a ladle change must be performed

after approx. 10 min due to the

temperature loss. Since this changeover

takes approx. 1 min to complete,

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 17


Figure 2: Main menu of the multi-touch display

Figure 3: New stopper actuator

no metal can be poured during this

interval unless the process comprises

two pouring devices. A pouring device

of this type is suitable mainly for use

on molding machines with longer cycle

times and medium or low pouring


As regards the achievable metal dosing

accuracy, no reliable figures or evaluations

that would support a comparison

of this kind are available.

The advantages of a pouring furnace,

needless to say, reside in the low temperature

loss and the high temperature

constancy achievable by heating,

as well as in the accurate control of the

melt composition, a longer melt holding

ability, and the fact that fresh metal

can be added without interrupting

the pouring process. As a result, molten

metal can be poured continuously.

As reported in an earlier article in

this periodical [2], the pouring furnace

scores better in terms of energy

consumption when measured in

multi-shift operation. The energy input

needed to compensate for the temperature

losses was taken into account

in this comparison.

Pouring furnaces for cast iron

Furnace sizes

The design principle of the pressurized

pouring furnace with stopper control

system can be assumed to be known,

refer to Figure 1. In the following text

we shall therefore limit ourselves to a

presentation of individual new developments.

The basic data of some pouring

furnace projects realized in practice

( Figure 1) illustrate the wide ranges of

capacity and power ratings involved.

If one considers the holding power

consumption, it emerges that pouring

furnaces are typically built with a

higher superheating power than channel-type

induction furnaces. A typical

rating would be one that enables the

18 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

furnace to superheat the metal by 90 –

110 K in one hour. This is because rapid

superheating may become necessary

in pouring furnace applications

where the incoming metal temperature

is too low, e.g., to reach the specified

melt pouring temperature in minimum

time again after refilling. The

small holding volume will not suffice

to provide the required temperature

equalization, especially if the vessel is

depleted to the level of the liquid heel.

In some cases, however, a much

higher superheating power is required.

Thus, one 5-t pouring furnace installation

was equipped with a 1000 kW

powerpack enabling it to realize a 90 K

temperature rise within approx. 4 min.

In order to ensure a rapid temperature

equalization between the metal in the

filling gate siphon and in the furnace

vessel, the furnace pressure is lowered

and then increased again to obtain a

“pumping” effect.

It should not be left unmentioned

here that in pouring magnesium-treated

cast iron (for making spheroidal

graphite or “S.G.” iron), a little more

superheating power is desirable. The inductor

rating should be approx. 50 kW

higher in this case in order to prevent

accretions of magnesium oxide slag [3].

The chart also shows that the specific

holding power consumption naturally

decreases significantly with increasing

furnace size.

Heating system

It is generally known that the heat for

holding and superheating the molten

metal is generated by a channel inductor

comprizing a U-shaped channel

which is attached to the side or on

the bottom of the vessel. The trend today

is for inductors to be fitted at the

vessel bottom, especially for pouring

S.G. iron.

The use of coreless inductors (of

crucible shape), although resulting in

a somewhat higher energy consumption,

had originally promised a number

of process advantages. However, it

has fallen short of gaining the expected


The heat loss of the coil is absorbed

by a water cooling system which also

cools the inductor. Since the inductor

rating may range from 150 kW to

1200 kW (refer to Figure 1), the design

and, especially, the channel geometry

must be adapted to the specific power

level. One approach being considered

here is to adopt air-cooling for inductors

in the lower power range. In this

context, developers are focusing on enlarging

the heat-dissipating surface of

the inductor.

These design changes are currently

implemented in a project involving a

4-t pouring furnace with an air-cooled

250 kW inductor. However, no general

trend for inductors in the lower power

bracket can be derived from this case.

Project related decisions remain to be

taken individually, on a case-by-case

basis, weighing the benefits and drawbacks

anew for each system.

It need not be mentioned here that

air-cooled inductors for pouring furnaces

are not, by themselves, a novelty


The electric power supply of pouring

furnaces is based mainly on rugged

mains-frequency switchgear systems.

In individual cases, frequency converters

relying on IGBT technology are today

employed as well where technical

Figure 4: Trial setup comprising the

new stopper actuator and Belysa camera


conditions – especially regarding infinitely

variable power control – suggest

their use. One example is the project

of a 5-t pouring furnace equipped

with an IGBT converter system that

Figure 5: Newly developed inoculation system

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 19


delivers up to 1000 kW to provide robust

superheating by 90 K in minimum

time. It should be noted here that the

system’s holding power consumption

is in the region of 150 kWh/h, and that

the typical power supply of a 5-t furnace

lies in the 200 – 300 kW range.

In the case considered here, the accurate

power control required for a superheating

process depending on furnace

parameters (furnace contents, temperature)

suggested the use of an IGBT

converter system. Further circuit engineering

options supported by IGBT

converter technology, e.g., variable frequency

operation or the use of a joint

power supply for two distinct furnaces,

have not found their way into practical

pouring furnace applications to

date. From this we may conclude that

the use of frequency converters is likely

to remain limited to individual cases

where this technology provides identifiable


Process management and control

The standard today is a PC-based process

control and visualization system

to monitor, supervise and operate all

pouring furnace components and their

functions. In addition, these systems

handle the storage, management and

transmission of technical parameters.

The human/machine interface comprises

a TFT monitor with mouse control

and a sealed keypad for entering

alphanumeric characters and control


At present, the changeover to systems

with single or multi-touch display

units is proceeding. Figure 2

shows the main menu prepared for use

with this new generation.

The dispensing accuracy is determined,

among other factors, by the

technical performance of the stopper

control system and its actuator. For

precise operation of the stopper actuator,

fast and accurate positioning of the

stopper are essential. Further requirements

include an adjustable, controlled

stopper closing force, automatic nozzle

wear compensation and appropriate

nozzle cleaning and seating devices.

The new electrical stopper actuator

developed by Otto Junker, Simmerath,

Germany, (Figure 3) meets these demands

with a high degree of reliability.

The new stopper control system moves

the stopper via a genuine linear actuator

using magnetic force. The only moving

part is the push rod (secondary part)

with its machined spiral-shaped groove.

This push rod is separated by a defined

air gap from the hollow stator shaft (primary

part, two-pole wound laminated

core). As a result, the actuator system

operates with virtually no wear.

Due to the low self-retention action

of the linear actuator the stopper will

drop under its own weight in the case

of a power failure, thus closing off the

pouring nozzle. An integrated lever

system makes it very easy to raise the

stopper manually into a mechanical

snap-lock position.

When the stopper control system is

switched off at the end of production

the linear actuator raises the stopper

into the same snap-lock position. After

that the power pack of the actuator

is switched off automatically. When

the stopper control system is switched

on the power pack is energized and the

linear actuator automatically moves

the stopper from its snap-lock position

into the pouring spout nozzle.

The stopper is pressed into the pouring

nozzle at an adjustable controlled

force acting in addition to the force of

the stopper’s weight. In this way the

stopper and/or nozzle wear is automatically

compensated up to an adjustable

wear limit.

Along with the development of this

new stopper actuator, a new camera

system (by Belysa) measuring the metal

level in the mold sprue cup as input

for controlling the pouring rate has

undergone trials.

Figure 4 shows the trial set-up consisting

of the new stopper actuator and

the Belysa camera system. The set-up

of a pouring furnace spout system including

a complete control panel made

Figure 6: Schematic illustration of the swivelling dual-stopper system

20 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Figure 7: Pouring vessel quick-change device

it possible to test the equipment under

near-real-world conditions. Further

trials in an industrial environment

showed a high dosing accuracy, with

only a few millimetres deviation from

the specified melt level in the sprue cup.

Meanwhile, following long-term evaluation,

the new stopper actuator and

camera system have been successfully

integrated in a number of projects.

For a metal stream inoculation of

optimum effectiveness, it is necessary

to introduce a closely defined amount

of inoculant into the pouring stream

throughout the pouring process. For

quality control purposes, the amount

of inoculant added should be determined

and documented.

Since existing inoculating systems

fail to meet these requirements in a

perfect manner and the dosing process

is not accurate enough, the concept of

a new equipment generation was developed

and tested.

The new inoculation system

( Figure 5) operates as follows: Inoculant

is pre-metered into an intermediate vessel

from where a frequency controlled

fine-metering screw drive delivers it to a

precision weighing system for accurate

control and logging of the inoculant

quantity. The system thus provides control

of the inoculation rate while also

recording the amount of inoculant actually

added to each pour.

A PLC is employed to manage and

control the system, with a touch panel

or Otto Junker’s proprietary JOKS system

providing visualization and operating

functions. Stored data can be

polled via an appropriate interface.

Extensive testing has demonstrated

the system’s full operability and high

metering accuracy.

At the time of writing this report, the

prototype of the new inoculation system

was undergoing long-time testing

under production conditions at Ergocast

Guss GmbH, Jünkerath, Germany.

Special pouring techniques

Direct pouring with a controlled single-stopper

system into the sprue cup

of the mold is not feasible in some cases,

e.g., where

» an inoculation or alloying step with

weight-based dosing is to be carried

out directly before the pouring operation,

» an open top runner is used on the


» the stopper cannot be positioned directly

over the sprue for space reasons,

» the pouring time exceeds the cycle

time of the molding machine,

» it is necessary to fill two molds, or

one mold with two sprue cups, simultaneously


» the molding machine advances the

molds continuously.

In such applications the use of dualstopper,

tundish or launder based solutions

suggests itself to meet the technical

requirements [4].

In order to produce two distinct castings

in one molding box with separate

sprue cups, a dual-stopper system must

be used (even triple systems have been

realized by now). The same applies if

melt must be poured into two sprue

cups for a single casting.

The sprues can be filled with molten

metal either concurrently or one after

the other. A dual-stopper system is also

used for filling two mold boxes at the

same time.

On molding machines with a very

high output and hence, a short time

to complete a mold, the available cycle

time may be shorter than the required

pouring time. Through the use of travelling

tundishes, the requisite pouring

times can nevertheless be attained.

An alternative solution is to double

the available pouring time by advancing

two molds or mold boxes simultaneously

so that the cycle will comprise

two concurrent molding operations.

For the pouring furnace, this means

that two molds must be filled at the

same time, with a possible change in

the sprue cup position.

This requirement is addressed by a

newly developed Otto Junker solution

[5] involving two independently swiv-

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 21


The basic principle (Figure 8) is to

pressurize the furnace vessel and to

force the melt into the mold from below.

Since the pouring rate will thus

depend on the pressure profile and not

merely on the mold’s intake capacity,

the pouring curve can be actively controlled.

The advantages obtained by this

pouring technique can be summarized


» reduced minimum wall thickness

» rising laminar mold filling process

without oxide inclusions

» high dispensing accuracy and actively

controllable pouring characteristics

» less returns

» improved cost efficiency and process


Figure 8: Schematic drawing of a low-pressure pouring furnace

elling stoppers. Figure 6 outlines the

system concept. The extent to which

this system can actually be adopted in

practice remains to be confirmed by industrial


Quick change of the pouring vessel

Necessary relinings of the inductor

or pouring vessel and other repair or

maintenance procedures may, more

or less frequently, call for a pouring

vessel replacement. This is a time-consuming

process which may result in

down times of the molding machine.

Where such replacements are frequent,

e.g., due to short inductor lifetime,

the associated losses may be

hard to accept.

In the case of a project at Gienanth

GmbH, Eisenberg, Germany, the aim

was to implement a pouring vessel

change within one shift, or in less than

6 h. In two-shift operation, loss of production

will thus be avoided even if

the change requirement should arise

during the week. Needless to say, this

scenario assumes that a second furnace

vessel is available fully sintered

and ready for installation.

Providing a vessel quick-change capability

on a pressurized pouring furnace

imposed a number of modifications

to the existing design. Chief

among these is an additional platform

fitted on the furnace vessel by which

the entire vessel can be lifted out without

the tilting frame (Figure 7). For

this operation, all ancillary equipment

such as the compressed air supply,

stopper actuator, etc., remain in

place in the furnace frame or are merely

swung out of the way, while the electric

power and water supply lines are

disconnected via quick-couplings.

The quick-change system is also used

on Otto Junker’s unheated UGD type

pouring devices, as further projects


New process technology

The demand for high-quality castings

having a reduced wall thickness will

boost the use of the low-pressure casting

technique in iron casting as well.

In aluminium and copper casting, this

technology is no longer new but has

evolved into a successful production

method [6].

A fact to be accepted is that, upon completion

of the actual pouring cycle, it

is necessary to turn the mold upside

down or to close off the sprue with a

valve gate, or else to extend the cycle

time until the melt has solidified in the

sprue area.

A number of trial systems using this

process technology have been serving

in steel foundries for quite some time.

M. Werner and E. Dötsch have reported

on a current industrial application

involving the production of cast steel

turbine housings for exhaust gas turbochargers

[7]. The use of this process

technology for casting thin-walled

grey cast iron parts will remain the object

of future development.


Pouring furnace technology has proven

its merits in numerous foundry

applications. The developments and

trends presented herein attest to the

scope for further improvement and optimization

of this technology, as well

as for exploring new fields of use.




22 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Pouring sequence during dynamic tilt casting of a cylinder head: 10, 30, 60 and 90 % mold filling (from top left to

bottom right ) (Photos: Smetan Engineering)

Author: Herbert Smetan, Smetan Engineering, Siersburg

Dynamic tilt casting with

low-pressure die casting machines

As a result of the general trend of “downsizing” engines in passenger cars, we have been




The author has published various articles

dealing with the most common

casting techniques for cylinder heads

[1], [2]. In those publications, the dispersion

of thin oxide films within the

matrix, the characteristics of dendrite

arm spacing and the preconditions

for directional solidification are considered

as the main criteria able to determine

whether a particular casting

technique is a suitable process for the

volume production of cylinder heads

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 23


subjected to extreme stress. In the investigations,

a dynamic casting technique,

which fills the cavity in a controlled

tilting movement with the

feeder (Figure 1), proved to be clearly

the most preferred method.

Especially in the production of modern,

highly stressed cylinder heads,

classical low-pressure die casting has

been reaching its limits because it fails

to achieve the required fine-grained

microstructure in the calottes of the

combustion chambers. Therefore ways

had to be found how to expand the

potential of existing low-pressure die

casting equipment by a process adaptation

that would require only minimal

capital investment. This was achieved

by pouring the molten metal directly

from the low-pressure pouring furnace

into the pouring basin, as schematically

shown in Figure 2.

Versus a process using a bale-out furnace

with an undocked basin, the newly

introduced solution means just a few

seconds of additional cycle time. At the

same time, it provides the possibility of

handling greater casting weights and

the benefit of having less mechanical

elements near the hot die. This solution

Dynamic Static

Bottom poured Top poured Low-pressure casting

Static casting

Oxide films --


Directional solidification -

Dynamic tilt casting

Oxide films ++


Directional solidification +

*) unless formed during basin filling or in the riser tube

Static casting

Oxide films ---

DAS ++

Directional solidification +

Dynamic tilt casting

Oxide films *) +++

DAS +++

Directional solidification +++

Low-pressure feeding

Oxide films *) +++

DAS ---

Directional solidification ++

Gravity feeding

Oxide films *) +++


Directional solidification +

Figure 1: Comparison of applied mold filling and feeding principles (Graphics:

Smetan Engineering)

would also be an option for the production

of larger cylinder heads and for engine

blocks. However, the most important

benefit of this approach is that it

requires only minimally invasive measures

to transform existing low-pressure

die casting capacities used for the production

of cylinder heads to modern,

future-oriented casting equipment.

The CAD image in Figure 3 shows

the equipment design implementing

this solution. The pouring basin

is being filled from below with a perfectly

clean and oxide-free alloy directly

from the low-pressure pouring

furnace, without causing any disturbing

turbulences. This requires a special

geometrical design of the docking

Figure 2: Turbulence-free filling of the pouring basin from a low-pressure pouring furnace for dynamic tilt casting

(schematic illustration of design details).

24 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Figure 3: Low-pressure filling of the pouring basin is a minimally invasive

solution to transform low-pressure casting cells into dynamic tilt casting


interface: two mating spherical faces

serve as annular seals, with the inside

sphere having a slightly smaller diameter

than the outside one. All that needs

to be done to ensure trouble-free operation

and protect the tool steel surfaces

serving as the annular seal is to lightly

spray the spherical faces with a graphite-containing

emulsion after each cycle.

The inside of the riser tube is made

of a suitable ceramic material covered

by an outside shell made of tool steel.

Only outside of the furnace chamber is

the riser tube covered by the steel shell,

which is of telescopic design in order to

be able to flexibly compensate the impact

caused by the docking of the basin

whenever a new pouring cycle starts.

The connection is self-centering due to

the spherically shaped interfacing elements.

Similarly designed elements

have already proven highly successful

in low-pressure casting machines as robust

and reliable solutions for quick die

changes. The ceramic stopper including

the stopper brick and the stopper

control can meanwhile be considered

as standard equipment also in aluminium


Therefore the described solution is

an ideal option for foundries wishing

to adapt to current market developments

without having to replace major

parts of their production equipment.




Temperature Control.

Smart. Reliable.

Proven quality

& Swiss precision

Reliable Swiss quality, in use successfully

for 50 years. The temperature

control units from REGLOPLAS are

convincing because of their precision,

long service life and compatibility.

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 25



Author: Vadim Malashonak, Regional Sales Manager at WINOA Germany, Denzlingen

Increasing blasting efficiency

through innovative blasting media

The optimization of blasting by reducing wear and tear and blasting time was the focus of an

industrial trial at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Mannheim - with considerable success

It all began with a vision: an innovative

blasting media with high energy

transfer capabilities and a wear reducing

feature for the wheelblasting machines

in a foundry application.

Following a long development period,

the new product Hybrid Shot was

introduced by the R&D department of

Winoa Germany, Denzlingen, for the

purpose of trials with Daimler AG. In

order to meet the high quality requirements

of the customer’s cylinder head

bodies and to extinguish all doubts, a

principle experiment was performed

in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, with

the blasting machine manufacturer

Wheelabrator, headquartered in Taastrup,

Denmark. The calculated blasting

times, the wear performance and the

achieved quality paved the way for industrial

testing quickly.

Optimizing quality, increasing

efficiency – a success story

Winoa, Les Cheylas, France, a world

leader in the manufacturing of steel

abrasives, with 14 factories and six

technical and training centres across

the world, was so convinced by the results

achieved with Hybrid Shot during

the initial trials, that even a WA Cost

– a cost reduction calculation taking

into consideration all costs in the

blasting process i.e. energy, blasting

agents, personnel, maintenance and

other additional aspects – was created

and the global blasting cost savings

were guaranteed.

According to the definition of the

large scale test sequence and the exact

objectives, economic benefits

were the main purpose of the project.

Under consideration of the correct procedures

with such experiments, which

The new Winoa product, Hybrid Shot, for better blasting results (Photos and

graphics: Winoa)

Winoa describes as “the seven stages of

success” (as a global standard), nothing

stood in the way of a successful conversion

any longer. With the beginning of

the testing of the Hybrid Shot and the

training of the operational staff, regular

inspection and verification of the

operating mixture in the test blasting

facility were at all times guaranteed by

the support of the technical WALUE

department. The accurate angle of the

blast wheels could be set more exactly

with the use of the revolutionary blasting

image adjustment method, which

involves the use of a thermal imaging

camera ( Figure 1).

During the assessment, the roughness

measurements in particular proved

to be impressive. The difference of

the surface following blasting with

high carbon content blasting media

(compared to low carbon content

ones) showed considerably less roughness;

this yielded a positive effect in

the follow­up process of the painting

system. The 3­D surfaces method also

showed nothing to be doubtful about

– the roughness values became lower

and more constant with the Hybrid


So what has improved? And how

were such improvements achieved?

The premium product has a slightly

more aggressive particle shape and a

higher rebound effect. These characteristics

contributed to the fact that

the efficiency of the cleaning of the

engine block became comparable after

26 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016







Manipulator tongs

Bush adjustment (new):


Srcew of

manipulator arm

Schematic illustration

of bush adjustment

Figure 1: A shot of the sheet with a thermal imaging camera, the corresponding box position of the centrifugal wheel

and the schematic representation of the hotspot

the casting; meanwhile, the blasting times for them were

able to be reduced by up to 15 %, and the blade wear by up

to 40 %. This finding lies in contrast to conventional expert

opinions, according to which the wear of blasting equipment

will increase after a switch from low carbon content

blasting to high carbon content blasting methods. This is

new and revolutionary in the professional world – with the

help of the Hybrid Shot and the blasting system parameter’s

optimizations, the greatest saving potential in the

analysis was found in the area of wear reduction. The guaranteed

total cost savings at three blasting facilities were

even exceeded by approximately 20 %. During a repeated

analysis, the saving potential was confirmed. This means

that the increase in productivity, which would be made

conceivable as a result of the blasting time reduction with

the new premium product, was still yet to be taken into account

during the assessment.

Although the industrial trial with Hybrid Shot was officially

reported as completed, the intensive support of the

Winoa staff extends further than this. The Winoa machine

inspection reports aim to indicate the current status and

performance of the blasting equipment, so that, in the event

of any deviations, adaptations may be made in collaboration

with the Daimler staff.


Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 27


Author: Axel Schmidt, Head of Technology, Development & Project management, DGS Druckguss-Systeme AG, St. Gallen

DGS produces one of the largest

die cast parts worldwide

Prach hour, the sun radiates enough energy onto the earth to cover the annual energy demand

of the whole world population. For better exploitation of this solar energy, DGS Druckguss Systeme

AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland, produces frames for hot water solar panels. Recently, the production

of these frames was changed from welded extrusion molded parts to aluminum die

castings. The success of this change was so noteworthy that the new frame received a ”Special

Recognition“ award in the International 2014 Aluminum Die Casting Competition

Frame for hot water solar panels: Frame

Dimensions and Profile (Photos

and Graphics: DGS Druckguss)

The change of the production route was

mainly motivated by the better longevity

and tightness of the die cast parts in

comparison to welded parts. Due to the

roof assembly, the frames are subject to

Figure 1: Distortion analysis of the

initial design (20x amplified; left:

vertical, right: horizontal)

major temperature changes by which

the seams of welded frames can tear. As

a consequence, humidity penetrates the

frame and damages the absorber layer.

In the end, considerable efficiency losses

occur. The die cast frames do not have

this weakness and are therefore decisively

more robust. At the same time, the

frames must meet highest overall demands:

at least 20 years of guaranteed

corrosion resistance, high dimensional

accuracy and stability, a low weight and

minimal total production costs. With

dimensions of 2,050 x 1,230 x 50 mm

at a weight of only 6 kg, their production

is a huge challenge (Figure 1).

To start, the frame design and the

casting concept were developed. Critical

manufacturing issues had to be recognized

and considered right from the

start. Tight dimensional tolerances and

absolute squareness were obligatory to

guarantee the assembly of the window

pane. At the same time, dimensional

stability for the pipe connections was required.

To ensure the required mechanical

properties and stiffness at just 5 mm

wall thickness, early material property

analysis and optimization was essential.

A well castable and high-strength

AlSi10MgMnSr primary alloy was chosen

as the cast material. After a thorough

evaluation, a one-piece braceless

frame design was set, featuring a

Z-shaped frame profile.

The lay-out of the HPDC process itself

was especially demanding. Comparable

and reliable results for possible combinations

of design and casting parameters

had to be available very early. Axel

Schmidt, leader of the project management

with DGS, remembers the most

critical questions: “Can this casting,

with flow lengths of several meters, be

completely filled at all? Which filling

time is necessary for a complete filling?

What happens if filling fronts meet after

2 to 3 m of melt flow? How big are

the length variations and how much

does the massive gating pull the frame

apart? We had to answer all these questions

very early to work in a cost and resource

efficient manner and to lead the

project to a success”. At the beginning,

a design with two gating areas was developed

and evaluated with MAGMA 5 ,

looking at different quality criteria such

as “Flow-Length”‚ “Fill Temperature”

and “Material Trace”. As it turned out,

solving the problem of frame distortion

was the most challenging task.

28 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Figure 2: Final gating design: Temperature distribution at the end of filling. Right: Photo of the ejected casting

The first simulation results indicated

frame distortion values of up to 9 mm

lengthways and 5 mm crossways for the

initial gating design – results far from

the customer specification. The situation

was so severe that a complete redesign

of the gating system was the only

proper answer possible for the DGSteam.

The experts checked further experience-based

alternatives, again using

Magmasoft. According to DGS,

MAGMA 5 was a key factor to comply

with the timeline and secure the success

of the production process at the same

time (Figure 2).

The solution was eventually successfully

identified: a system with gating

are as in all four corners and a total of

20 ingates (Figure 3). Axel Schmidt recapitulates:

“To develop the design with

minimized frame distortion, MAGMA 5

played a crucial role. The possibility to

quickly and early test different variations

was essential, allowing us to create

the gating system in a way that it exercises

as little force on the casting as possible.

This way we could actually completely

avoid any critical distortion and

minimize other casting related defects

at the same time. The ‘material trace’ results

allowed us to check the symmetric

flow of the melt. And of course, the ‘distortion‘

result was used to analyze the

warping of the part in great detail and

document and discuss the effects of every

design modification”.

Next, the fixed casting lay-out had

to be transferred to the conditions of

the production environment. The design

and placement of the die inserts

and the cooling lines were the pending

major tasks. Again, the DGS team

used MAGMA 5 to develop the cooling

of the 10-fold divided die halves. Two

die halves weighing 14.1 and 20.3 t, optimized

with regard to the especially demanding

casting dimensions and cooling

requirements, were the final result.

The die was cleared for manufacturing

and the production could eventually

launch on time. Today, the final product

is an integral part of two different solar

collectors of leading manufacturers.

DGS strikes a positive balance.

Schmidt: “By using MAGMA 5 we succeeded

in producing the frame right

from the start, in accordance to the

strict demands regarding time and cost.

No in-production changes were necessary.

Today, in spite of the 24 kg shot

weight at only 6.3 kg component weight

and a form filling time of just 40 ms, the

frames are produced without critical distortion.

The project is not only an economic

success but also a recent proof of

the innovation ability of DGS.”

Meanwhile numerous new demanding

die castings are being developed at

Figure 3: Die cast part after removal

from the die casting cell

DGS. The DGS team is exploring the

new possibilities for virtual experimentation

and automatic optimization

in MAGMA 5 Rel. 5.3. The identification

of robust process conditions

and the active support in the assessment

of designs of experiments complement

their experience based efforts

well. DGS will continue to use

MAGMA 5 to open up further time and

cost potentials.



DGS Druckguss Systeme AG is a globally active developer and producer of demanding

light alloy aluminum and magnesium die cast components, counting more

than 900 employees at its facilities in St. Gallen (Switzerland), Liberec (Czech Republic)

and Nansha (China). Since its foundation in 1950, the company has established

itself through its technology and production competence and uncompromising reliability

as an authoritative system supplier in the value chain of its customers, mainly

the automobile industry. DGS is ISO TS 16949, ISO 14001 und OHSAS 18001 certified.

Besides its production competence, DGS is an important development partner

for its customers, with a special focus on material and process development.

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 29


Author: Christof Nowaczyk, Product Manager for Design Service Europe & Asia, ASK Chemicals, Hilden

Core shooting simulation – to the

economic and environmental

advantage of the foundry

The simulation of core production, which is known as core shooting simulation, offers enormous

potential in terms of development and production

Figure 1: Visualization of the filling dynamics (Figures: ASK Chemicals)

Figure 2: Areas with highly diverse compaction

As part of the Design Service, which

has been established successfully on

the international market for years,

ASK Chemicals is focusing intensively

on the topic of simulating foundry

processes. This involves using almost

all well-known software solutions,

such as Magma, Flow-3D, Arena-Flow

and Novacast. The company has thus

gained a great deal of experience over

several years, both in the area of simulating

casting and solidification and in

the area of simulating core shooting.

But what potential does core shooting

simulation offer?

Not only does global competition

demand ever-improving quality with

shorter development and production

times at lower costs from the companies;

the constant upgrade of an increasingly

diverse product range is the

rule nowadays and presents a challenge

to the caster that is at least just

as great. In this situation, computer

programs, such as simulation software,

can help lower costs, reduce development

times and design optimized stable

processes. This is not a new insight,

as this practice has been mastered in

the casting and solidification area for


While the development process from

the idea to production led in the past

from the drawing board via model

construction, test casting and various

adjustments to the finished product,

computer-aided design (CAD), simulation,

computer-aided manufacturing

(CAM) and prototyping are used today.

In brief, we speak of computer-aid-

30 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Figure 3: Tool wear – Kinetic energy x impact angle

Figure 4: Crankcase water jacket with a poorly compacted area between

cylinders 2 and 3

Figure 5: Airflow in a core box

ed engineering (CAE). With regard to

model construction and also, specifically,

the development and design of

casting systems, this has certainly been

the case for some years now. We are all

familiar with the advantages and possibilities

that simulation methods offer

in this context.

However, the simulation of core production

must still be considered to be

relatively new. But do we need this

type of simulation? Surely, nobody

knows more about their core business,

i.e. their core production, than experienced

casters themselves. Nevertheless,

we must ask ourselves – is this

true? Do we really know what happens

and whether we have designed

the most optimum setup?

You could almost say that this sheds

light on one of the last dark areas of our

casting processes, and that this helps

us to master our “core business” even


Two key simulation steps are distinguished

in core shooting simulation.

The first is the simulation of the filling

process of the core box, i.e. the actual

shooting of the core. The second

is possible or necessary gassing, i.e. a

through-flow of gas through a cavity

of a core box with any type of filling.

The visualization of the filling dynamics

(Figure 1) allows us to make precise

predictions of areas with highly diverse

degrees of compaction (Figure 2).

Conclusions about areas with increased

tool wear can also be drawn,

or predictions can be made for areas in

which an increased level of binder application

can be expected. (Figure 3).

The simulation software Arena-Flow

is the only software on the market that

can depict the actual interaction between

particles (sand grains are particles)

and the flow medium (air) in a realistic

manner. It can depict problem

areas with insufficient compaction

very clearly (Figure 4).

The compaction problem illustrated

here is caused by a venting situation

that is not ideal.

This example also clearly shows that

the filling dynamics or the filling behavior

depends primarily on the flow

conditions of the air in a core box. This

flow behavior can be illustrated by flow

vectors and shows very clearly where

insufficient compaction or problems

with gassing can be expected.

In Figure 5, areas with insufficient

airflow are shown in dark blue. With

regard to gassing a core, this type of

evaluation by means of simulation

provides an initial insight into whether

the process is homogeneous. If the

lower box area already displays poor

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 31


Figure 6: Gassing result – before (left) and after (right) optimization

Figure 7: Analysis of the interaction between the shooting head and the core box

flow conditions, it can be assumed

with certainty that gassing problems

will occur. In this case, this means that

significantly longer gassing times and

unnecessarily high amine consumption

are accepted in practice as a “series

production status” of production.

We must therefore speak of inefficient

use of the amine here.

The following example (Figure 6)

shows how systematic use and an appropriate

optimization of the setup

can help improve the quality of the

core significantly while simultaneously

reducing the cycle time by approx.

28 %. In this case, only the venting setup

has been optimized.

What are known as family core boxes

are often designed to go with existing

core shooting machines. Production is

then frequently faced with the problem

that the compaction of certain

cores or areas of cores is insufficient,

which often leads to increased cleaning

effort or even considerable rework

of the cast parts. In most cases, this is

caused by the interaction between the

geometry of the shooting head, which

is installed, accepted as given and not

considered further, and the actual setup

of the core box and the arrangement

of the shooting nozzles.

Figure 7 shows clearly that the existing

geometry prevents the back left

area of the core from being filled completely,

since the amount of mold material

that can flow through the sand

magazine in the given time is not sufficient.

Such a situation inevitably leads to

significant additional costs, which

could have been avoided by performing

a corresponding simulation beforehand.

Adapting the design of the

shooting head would certainly be the

less expensive form of remedial action.

In the worst case, however, this could

jeopardize existing timelines and the

possible adherence to milestones that

determine the project.

A further practical example, based

on an oil duct core in a design by

Figure 8: Simulation – pressurized oil

duct, 3rd generation AUDI EA888:

shooting nozzle dynamics

32 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

The RevoluTion in



Improved application of low cement concretes

with the patented GUNMIX ® -system and

ROTAMAT gunning machine.

The alternative to shotcreting!

Figure 9: Simulation of gassing

AUDI AG, shows the potential that

core shooting simulation offers in

terms of saving costs and resources.

As part of a customer project, the

task was to check an existing setup and

to optimize it if necessary before constructing

new core boxes. This project

was supported and promoted not only

by the foundry itself, but also by the

client, AUDI AG. As an OEM that does

not itself operate a foundry in which

cores are used, AUDI AG consistently

relies on simulation as a means of

achieving stable processes, both in the

foundry and in the purchasing companies

later on (Figure 8).


As with any other type of simulation,

the simulation of core production,

which is known as core shooting simulation,

offers enormous potential in

terms of development and production

– be it in the context of tool development,

ensuring that this tool

will perform in the most optimum

way and as desired prior to expensive

tool production, or be it as an aid for

detecting error causes and savings potential.

The simulation helps to plan, implement

and operate stable processes.

However, it also helps to improve cycle

times and reduce amine consumption

by optimizing gassing cycles ( Figure 9).

This enables an increase in productivity

and a reduction of resource consumption

to occur.

In the highly competitive international

foundry market, this represents

a distinct contribution to increasing or

maintaining competitiveness.


Your benefits

only minor dust emmission

considerably less rebound

higher quality of the refractory lining

less investment cost

low handling and cleaning efforts

for gunning rates of 2 - 5 t/h


Haberstrasse 40

42551 Velbert/Germany

info@velco.de • www.velco.de

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 33


Author: Laura Schwarzbach, KUKA Roboter GmbH, Augsburg

Well guide

At the BMW plant in Landshut, permanent casting molds are cleaned with a manually guided

KUKA robot

In cooperation with the MRK-Systeme GmbH, an innovative solution for

robot-based dry ice blasting for eight different types of tools has been developed

(Photos: KUKA)

The cleaning of permanent casting

molds in foundries by using dry ice

is today still largely done manually,

which places a great strain on the

worker. However, this is not the case

at the foundry of the BMW plant in

Landshut, Germany. Here, a KUKA robot

of the KR Quantec series takes care

of the cleaning procedure. The robot is

taught its path by the worker through

manual guidance.

Since 1898, around 1,500 employees

of the BMW Group in Landshut have

been manufacturing five million cast

components of aluminum and magnesium

per year with a total weight

of around 69,000 t. The scope of production

includes engine components

such as cylinder heads or crankcases

as well as parts for the body structure

and chassis. Once a week, the permanent

molds in the foundry are cleaned

with dry ice. The advantage of this

non-abrasive and non-corrosive cleaning

procedure is that it neither damages

the material to be cleaned nor does

it leave behind dry ice residue. With

dry ice (solid CO 2

), the most complex

geometries, as are often found on permanent

molds, can be cleaned without

damaging or dismantling equipment.

At BMW in Landshut, this was previously

done manually. In cooperation

with Augsburg-based MRK-Systeme

GmbH, an innovative solution has

now been developed for robot-based

dry ice blasting for eight different types

of tools.

Founded in 2004, MRK-Systeme

GmbH and its fourteen employees develop

and implement function packages

for human-robot collaboration. The

system solutions are used mainly by

automobile manufacturers and their

suppliers but also by all other branches

of industry. In cooperation with

Cold Jet, the Augsburg company developed

a cell for the foundry of the BMW

plant in Landshut in order to make the

cleaning procedure with dry ice more

efficient and effective. The main player

in this solution: a manually guided

KUKA robot of the KR Quantec series.

The worker first selects the “Smart-

ICE” software on the KUKA smartPad

teach pendant and from there uses the

graphics to select the type of permanent

mold as well as the relevant areas

on the casting mold. The worker then

manually guides the robot intuitively

through these areas (Figure 1). This offers

primarily ergonomic advantages

when compared to the manual procedure.

With the aid of the force/torque

sensor, the robot can be easily guided

without process forces. In addition,

peripheral signals (e.g. to the actuators

or from/to the dry ice aggregate

through the Aero interface) can be easily

saved in the program by the operator

via touch operation. The worker

then gets the robot to automatically

execute the taught 3-D path and clean

the permanent mold with the dry ice.

“Since the worker no longer carries out

the cleaning procedure directly, he is

no longer exposed to dirt during the

process,” explains Michael Mohre,

Oper ations Manager at MRK Systeme.

34 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Figure 1: By hand-held teaching the robot learns where to go

Figure 2: The robot is specially adapted to the requirements in the foundry

“Beyond this, exposure to noise can

also be minimized since the employee

is no longer in the immediate vicinity

during cleaning.” Following the ice

blasting procedure, which lasts approximately

30 min, the permanent

mold is re-introduced into the casting

production process and a new casting

mold is brought into the station to be


A KR 210 R3100 F ultra KUKA robot is

used in the innovative cell (Figure 2).

This robot, specially developed for use

in foundry environments, is equipped

with special protective packages to effortlessly

withstand heat, dirt, humidity,

sand and cleaning agents. This

makes it the ideal alternative, particularly

for tough tasks that are arduous

for human workers. Thanks to

the safety interface X67, KUKA Safe-

Operation software and the RSI (RobotSensorInterface),

safety during direct

contact with the human worker

is ensured.

These KUKA options form the basis

for MRK’s SafeGuiding function package,

which enables safe, intuitive and

interactive manual guiding or programming

of the KR 210. Intuitive robot

operation, targeted program selection

as well as automatic memory

management are also ensured with further

help from a customized user interface

– which is installed as plug-in software

on the KUKA controller. Without

expert technical knowledge of the automation

components, the operator

can work productively and program

the free-form surfaces of the permanent

mold to be cleaned.

The new system brings BMW many

advantages. Through the use of the

robot-based system, the interruption

in the casting process has been shortened

from 180 to 30 min – thus guaranteeing

significantly higher output.

The robot also enables repeatably accurate

preparation of the tool and reduces

the strain on the worker. Furthermore,

the new solution decreases

the impurities to be found in the casting

area. The high-precision cleaning

enhances the quality of the process.

Last, but not least, the procedure

must also be considered in the sense

of “today for tomorrow”: since employees

are getting older, BMW is already

thinking about the future today

by choosing robot-based solutions.

Other applications with the robot

cell are already in planning for permanent

mold casting at BMW. The

permanent molds will not just be

cleaned, but the ceramic coating will

be applied automatically to the casting

mold as well.


Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 35


Author: Karin Hardtke, Ratingen

The Handtmann Group – a family -

owned company with a future

Albert Handtmann Metallgusswerk GmbH & Co. KG in Biberach is Germany’s largest

family-owned light-metal foundry – and the heavyweight of the Handtmann Group. Arthur

Handtmann took over his parent’s small foundry operation in 1945 and, during the following


demand for its technical solutions in a variety of markets. His son, Thomas Handtmann,

successfully runs the business. The 88-year-old passionate entrepreneur Arthur Handtmann,

however, has no time for retirement – there is still much too much to be done

Teamwork that still works well – for the good of the company: Senior Partner Arthur Handtmann with son Thomas

Handtmann (right), who has been Managing Director of the Handtmann Group since 1998 (Photo: Handtmann)

About 8,000 km as the crow flies,

16 h travelling and an 8-h time difference

– from tranquil Biberach (in

Upper Swabia) to the vibrant Chinese

port city of Tianjin and back – nothing

at all to deter 88-year-old entrepreneur

Arthur Handtmann (Figure 1).

There is no way that he would have

missed personally attending the official

inauguration of the new Handtmann

aluminum foundry and making

the opening speech on 12 March

2015. The family-owned company in

Biberach had already been producing

gear and transmission housings

there for carmaker Volkswagen since

November 2014. “The inauguration of

our first Asian works is one of the most

important milestones of my working

life,” says Handtmann. Construction

of the Chinese aluminum found-

36 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

y is the largest single investment in

the company’s history, amounting

to about 80 million euros. In future,

the Tianjin foundry will employ 400

personnel and process up to 27,000 t

of aluminum per year. Handtmann

not only sees the new works offering

growth opportunities on the Chinese

market, but also thinks that the project

will help secure orders from Europe’s

automotive industry in the long term.

Because nowadays they expect internationality

and flexibility from their

suppliers. “By the way, I travelled to

China with our works doctor. I felt totally

at ease there, but the doctor had

a rough time,” Handtmann adds, eyes

sparkling mischievously.

Work and family keep

him young

Arthur Handtmann remains a constant

in the company, even at almost

90 years of age. He still goes to the office

every day – full-time of course –

though he does take Saturday afternoons

off. The work keeps him young

– and there is more than enough of it

for Arthur Handtmann. Because since

he handed over responsibility for the

Handtmann Group to his son Thomas

in 1998, among other things Arthur

Handtmann has become President

of the holding company’s Advisory

Board, under whose aegis the various

business divisions – with their own

autonomous leadership structures –

come together. The Advisory Board is

closely involved in the most important

strategic decisions, explains Handtmann.

“An excellent, competent, decision-making

committee. As Chairman,

I have never yet had to veto a

majority decision.”

Arthur Handtmann also regularly

attends the weekly exchange of information

between the heads of the various

production works and those of the

HR and Finance Departments. Such

meetings can last 6-8 h for larger business

divisions, such as the light-metal

foundry. Does he have a recipe for

mastering these everyday challenges

despite his advanced age? “Self-restraint

regarding food and drink, one

bottle of alcohol-free beer a day, and

enjoying what one is doing,” says

Figure 1: Fitter than some younger contemporaries: Arthur Handtmann is still

far from considering retirement. He wants to continue to contribute his many

years of experience (Photos: Klaus Bolz)

Figure 2: High-pressure die casting, gravity die casting, lost foam, mechanical

processing, component and system assembly: Handtmann produces more

than 60 million castings every year. Three-shift operation is required, sometimes

also on weekends, in order to meet the rising demand

Handtmann spontaneously. And his

wife, Ilse, of course, with whom he

has been happily married for more

than 60 years. She has always been his

most important associate even during

difficult times. He still appreciates her

advice, and he can talk to her about

everything that happens at Handtmann.

“We are the smallest team in

the Handtmann Group,” he says affectionately.

Difficult initial year for the


About 3,500 employees now work for

the Handtmann Group, of which more

than 2,000 are involved in the light

metal division alone. Apart from Biberach,

the foundries are located in Annaberg

(Saxony), Košice (Slovakia) and,

of course, the new works in Tianjin in

China. 60,000 t of aluminum and magnesium

castings – from crankcases and

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 37


cylinder heads up to structural components

– are delivered annually to customers

such as Volks wagen, Daimler,

BMW and Audi ( Figure 2). In recent

years there has been a trend towards

supplying vehicle producers with components

that can be installed on the assembly

line – entire systems, not just

individual parts. “The castings are becoming

increasingly complex. Handtmann

is one of the few foundries that

can handle this,” a visibly proud Handtmann

says. Apart from light-metal casting,

there are other successful business

fields, such as the production of portioning

machines and filling machines,

Handtmann took over his parent’s

works (founded by Handtmann’s

grand father in 1873 as a brass foundry)

when he was just 18 in 1945. The

war had just ended. Like many others,

Arthur Handtmann had been a prisoner-of-war

– an experience that had a

lasting effect on the young man. “The

humiliations that we had to endure as

prisoners taught me what I would do

differently regarding the treatment of

my employees when I was in charge,”

says Handtmann. His father was no

longer healthy enough to run the small

works (with 18 employees) alone. He

asked his son whether he would take

and then studied at an engineering

college. “I was a student from Monday

to Friday and provisional Managing

Director on Saturday and Sunday.”

A picture purchased from the estate of

painter Otto Dix now reminds him of

this turbulent time (Figure 3). It hangs

in his office and shows the caster Zebatin

von der Höri, from whom the then

20-year-old learnt the principles of

casting during an internship at the Allgeier

pump factory in Radolfszell. But

even during this initial period, Arthur

Handtmann showed inventiveness,

decisiveness and the ability to take

unusual paths. He and his employees

looked for useable materials in crashed

planes: propellers, engines, wings and

tail assemblies were melted down and

made into noodle presses and waffle

irons – a first attempt to produce aluminum

castings instead of brass parts.

Figure 3: Arthur Handtmann has had to master many challenges in his lifetime.

Despite his success, he has always remained down-to-earth and devoted

to his fellow humans

the production of fittings and valves for

the beverages sector, or innovative plastic

technology. Sales of 770 million euros

were realized in the 2015 business

year, two-thirds of which will be thanks

to light-metal casting.

This rapid development could not

have been predicted when Arthur

over the responsibility. He, in turn,

asked his father’s employees – who unanimously

approved their new boss.

The following years were a constant

challenge for Arthur Handtmann – he

had never graduated from school and

had received no training. He first completed

his schooling in private lessons

Major investments in

light‐metal casting

After the currency reform of 1948,

Handtmann recognized the signs of

the times and consistently worked on

aluminum castings. He started with a

borrowed forming machine for sand

casting, switched to gravity casting a

few years later, and finally mass-produced

parts to customer specifications

using high-pressure die casting. His

customers have increasingly included

large vehicle producers since the mid-

1970s. “The first 30 years were characterized

by the constant modernizations

necessary to keep the works

alive.” And there were continuous battles

with the banks about financing all

this. These experiences have also influenced

his entrepreneurial activities, he

admits. The Handtmann Group has invested

about 250 million euros during

the last three years, as much as during

the entire previous ten years. Most of

this was used for expansion and modernization

of the foundry, for example

for a magnesium works project for

Daimler and Audi at the Biberach site

(Figure 4). “As a family-run company,

however, we cannot invest 100 million

euros every year. We want to avoid getting

into financial difficulties,” stresses

Arthur Handtmann. He has been able

to savor a little revenge for the diffi-

38 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

culties that he initially had with some

banks. “I was later appointed to the

Supervisory Board of a bank. They undoubtedly

did not have much joy with

me there,” he says, and that mischievous

look can be seen in his eyes again.

The Family Charter and Family

Reunion promote cohesion

Many companies have principles about

acting with respect for employees and

fairness towards business associates.

The Handtmann Group, how ever, goes

a step further. Here, there has been a socalled

Family Charter for several years.

It defines the company philosophy

that binds all shareholders. Building

upon this, corporate values have been

defined for the company: values such

as honesty, fairness, truthfulness and

collaboration are included. Every employee

receives training. These values

also include frugality. A private chauffeur?

Arthur Handtmann still considers

this unnecessary; he prefers to drive

himself. He is, he jokes, half Swabian

and half Scottish (his mother was Scottish).

And it is important to him that

most of the pro fits generated remain in

the company in order to build up further

capital for investments.

All the family members have been

meeting once a year since 2006 for the

Family Reunion that Arthur Handtmann

and his wife Ilse initiated: the

families of son Thomas and daughters

Ursula and Elisabeth, 17 grandchildren

and their partners, plus one

great-grandchild then travel to Biberach.

They include vets, farmers, brewers,

mechanical engineers; the twoday

event always starts with a tour of

a works. Then experts on business,

technology and management introduce

specialist topics and present the

changes in the company. After initial

hesitation, everyone now looks

forward to the annual get-together.

“My wife and I very much hope that

we can therefore rely on well-trained

future leaders from the family,” says

Handtmann. One grandchild is already

on the Holding company’s Advisory


Nobody is obliged to do anything,

however, stresses Arthur Handtmann.

Son Thomas Handtmann also gradually

Figure 4: The main site of the metal foundry in Arthur-Handtmann-Strasse in

Biberach: the foundry sites together now have a total area of 650,000 m 2 for

production and storage. 70 years ago, Arthur Handtmann started with just

6,000 m 2 (Photo: Handmann).

established himself in the company and

then took over its management in 1998

– during the 125th jubilee of Handtmann.

“That all went very smoothly. A

handshake and that was it,” remembers

Handtmann Senior, who has complete

confidence in his son. Thomas Handtmann

completed an internship at ZF

Friedrichshafen and added a course

in engineering at the Federal Institute

of Technology in Zürich (ETH) – “he

did very well there” – before gathering

further experience both in Germany

and abroad, including at Mitsubishi

in Japan, explains Arthur Handtmann

proudly. The father then handed over

responsibility for the fittings factory,

which principally works for breweries.

His son is solutions-oriented, someone

who drives forward innovations. He

stands for the same values whilst making

his own distinctive marks. Then, during

the jubilee year, finally the founding of

a Holding company, the Handtmann

Group; father and son withdraw from

individual companies; Handtmann Senior

takes over President of the Advisory

Board; Handtmann Junior becomes

Managing Director of the Group.

The family foundation –

a heart felt desire

In order to ensure that his life’s work remains

in family hands in the long term,

Arthur Handtmann decided to put his

share of 51 % of the Group in a family

foundation in 2014. “A family foundation

does not die.” This prevents the

assets being divided among too many

heirs and thus split up. “It ensures security

for the Group, for jobs and for the

employees,” Arthur Handtmann, who

runs the foundation, is convinced. In

addition, Handtmann is sure that the

foundation also guarantees that the values

of the Handtmann family will continue

to be implemented in the works

for the foreseeable future. Because a society

– whether a company, a family or

a country – cannot exist without the application

of values. Arthur Handtmann,

anyway, will continue to live out his values

every day – for which he stands as

both an entrepreneur and a man – and

apply them for the good of the Handtmann

Group. Full-time, of course.


Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 39



Pierburg plant awarded DGNB

certification in gold

Following the completed move into

its newest plant, Lower Rhine, located

on Harbor Pier 1 in Neuss, Germany,

auto-industry supplier Pierburg

has meanwhile been awarded the certification

aspired to for its new building

complex. The German Sustainable

Building Council (DGNB) awarded the

Pierburg location its certificate in gold.

This means that the Lower Rhine plant

is very likely to be the first industrial facility

with a foundry to have received

this coveted award in recent times. Pierburg

belongs to the global first-tier supplier

to the automotive industry KSPG.

Right from the start of this 50 million

euro construction project, the company

had attached great importance to sustainability.

As a specialist in emission

and fuel-consumption reduction in cars

and commercial vehicles, Pierburg sees

itself committed to strict sustainability

criteria at its production plants, too.

Employee amenities also play a role,

such as having available a sufficient

number of bicycle racks or providing

parking spa ces reserved for women.

It all started with the fact of the new

facility itself and the associated land

recultivation, given that the company

was able to build its new plant on disused

industrial wasteland that is also

Pierburg location is the first industrial facility with a foundry to have received

the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) Award (Photo: Pierburg).

very conveniently situated and, with its

easy accessibility by public transport or

bicycle, again scores ecologically.

Another important aspect at this early

stage was flexibility in the reutilization

and expansion of the site, eased by a

number of factors such as the largely

column-free shop floors as well as statically

and technically, by office areas allowing

potential extensions and variable

layout. Added to this was the

exclusive use of eco-friendly materials

approved by construction ecologists.

Given the integrated foundry, high

priority was assigned to improved air

pollution control as shown in the extensive

clean air and immission protection

measures. In fact, Pierburg’s relevant

measurements are even lower than the

limits specified in the German Technical

Guidelines on Clean Air (TA Luft).

The building in its entirety scores

more than 25 % better than the energy-conservation

benchmarks for new

buildings. Besides the countless additional

measures, efficient heat recovery

in the pneumatic air system and in the

waste heat from the foundry’s smelting

furnaces plays a major role in achieving

the commendable bottom-line results.



Chisel hammer from Mannesmann Demag (Photo: MD)

Chisel hammers with quickchange


The well-known air hammers from

Mannesmann Demag (MD), Stuttgart,

Germany, are used for fettling castings

in foundries. Now there is a FixFlex

quick-change chuck for the MD chisel


This new chuck makes chisel changing

much faster than before. It is no

longer necessary to disassemble the

chisel retaining spring. Especially

when working with broad chisels this

chuck solves the problem: Finally the

change of chisels is fast, safe and simple.

Lower maintenance costs tell its

own tale. A safe fixation with precise

chisel guiding is ensured. The new

quick-change chuck is available for the

MD chisel hammers MD 200 and MD

340 (2.0 kg, 3.4 kg respectively).


40 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016


Comprehensive product


Eirich, Hardheim, Germany, is a specialist

supplier of machinery and equipment

used in the preparation of claybound

molding sand. Outstanding,

reproducible sand quality, tailored solutions

and high efficiency are good reasons

why more than 1,500 Eirich sand

preparation systems worldwide have

been integrated into casting lines from

all major manufacturers. Focus is on

technical solutions to reveal new opportunities

for optimized quality and

cost-efficiency on new construction,

retrofit and modernization projects at

iron and non-ferrous metals foundries.

For many years, eco-friendly technology

developed by Eirich has been the

best option available to foundries that

are looking for top quality molding

sand at an affordable cost. The mixing,

cooling and bentonite activation steps

all take place in a single machine.

Preparation under vacuum prevents

ambient climatic conditions from having

any effect on the molding sand. The

sand has uniform quality and the temperature

of the prepared sand remains

constant. This technology is now used

around the world. More than 60 “vacuum

mixers” have been installed. Depending

on size, the systems have a

throughput rate of 6 - 300 m³/h. The

mixing, cooling and activation process

takes 70 s. The residual moisture of the

return sand is less than 0.5 % and the

sand is cooled under precision control

to 40 °C. Besides the best possible bentonite

activation without prior ageing,

there are other advantages as well. Consumption

of bentonite and auxiliary

materials can be reduced. Elimination

of the sand cooler and other subsystems

cuts dust extraction air volumes nearly

in half. Fines remain in the molding

sand and do not have to be captured

and disposed of as filter dust at considerable

expense. Entrained fines are deposited

in a condenser and the condensate

is cycled back to the preparation

process via the water scale.

The company has developed a comprehensive

set of modular control solutions

designed to safeguard quality and

increase productivity. The spectrum

ranges from entry-level versions to

preventive molding sand management

featuring a model catalogue, formulation

calculation and additive calculation

functions which work from a

set of model-based parameters. Those

control systems offer proactive management

and control of molding sand

properties, particularly in combination

with the QualiMaster AT1 online

sand tester (used to determine the

compactability and shear strength

control parameters), SandReport software

(continuous acquisition, analysis

and archiving of production data) and

SandExpert (additional calculation of

all model-based formulations using

production plans). Teleservice (remote

monitoring), Condition Monitoring

(online diagnostics) and IMD (Intelligent

Material Distribution) modules

are also available. Using the appropriate

data interfaces, all production and

system data can be transferred to higher-level

production data acquisition

systems for further processing.

Eirich sand preparation systems installed

as complete or partial solutions

are highly versatile and can be adapted

to different molding technologies and

sand parameters. They supply sand to

molding lines made by all manufacturers.

The portfolio includes material

handling, pre-treatment, return sand

storage, sand preparation and transfer

to the molding line. The company can

supply individual machines or turnkey

sand preparation solutions.



Star-Cast with new high pressure

die casting module

CD-adapco, Melville, USA, a global provider

of multidisciplinary engineering

simulation and design exploration software,

announced the availability of Star-

Cast v11.02, the casting simulation addon

for Star-CCM+.

Star-Cast features a new high pressure

die casting module, providing casting

engineers with an accurate and

user-friendly tool for designing stronger,

lighter and higher quality casted

parts. High pressure die casting is a fast

and inexpensive process for mass manufacturing

of precision components, resulting

in high dimensional accuracy

and requiring minimal machining.

However, defects such as gas inclusions

and misruns are hard to control and remain

a challenge. This process has traditionally

also been difficult to simulate

due to the complexity of the physical

processes including multiphase flows

consisting of both melt and gas.

Star-Cast is a casting dedicated

si mu la tion software resulting from a

strong partnership between Access

e.V., Aachen, Germany, and CD-adapco.

Draw ing on CD- adapco’s expertise in

thermal-fluid simulation and Access’

experience in casting and metallurgy,

Star-Cast integrates industry-leading

CAE technology with the detailed models

required for casting, enabling highly

accurate simulation of interactions between

molten metal and air. By resolving

all the physics at once, engineers

can now get a better understanding of

the complete high pressure die casting

process using Star-Cast v11.02 and discover

better designs, faster.

Temperature distribution at the end

of filling of a car’s subframe component

(Photo: CD Adapco)

STAR-Cast v11.02 incorporates enhancements

that streamline simulation

workflow and increase productivity for

casting simulations.


Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 41



World’s largest 3-D printing

system goes into operation in

the USA

Voxeljet, Friedberg, Germany, increases

its presence in the US growth market

with the start-up of the largest 3-D

printing system in Michigan. With the

VX4000 3-D printer, one of the leading

providers of large-format 3-D printers

and on-demand parts services underlines

its important position in the

US market. This benefits in particular

the US foundry industry, which is a

direct consumer of these services. For

example, 3-D printers can be used to

manufacture large rotors and turbines

– and usually much more quickly and

cost-effectively than using traditional


No other 3-D printing system for

sand molds offers larger continuous

build volumes. At 4000 x 2000 x 1000

mm (L x W x H), the build space more

or less corresponds to the size of a VW

Golf car. David Tait, Managing Director

of voxeljet America, commented

the expanded capacities of the voxeljet

equipment fleet and range of services

in the US as follows: “The market for

cast parts in the US has always focused

The VX4000, the largest industrial 3-D printing system for sand molds, is commissioned

in the US (Photo: Voxeljet)

on size. With the VX4000, we not only

produce the largest sand molds in the

world, but can also combine these with

smaller mold components. The resulting

flexibility provides for rapid delivery

times and cost-efficient production.”

The VX4000 is very fast and easy to

operate. In addition to ensuring

cost-effective production processes for

very large individual molds, this huge

3-D printer can also be used to produce

small series parts or a combination of

the two. In addition, it also prints stable

side walls, which means that the

size of the build space can be adjusted

as needed. No other comparable system

is able to adjust the build speed to

the build volume in such a way.

Another feature: The layer building

method has been especially adapted

for this printer. Therefore the building

platform is not lowered during the

printing process, but rather the print

head is raised with each layer. The machine

thus easily supports the heavy

weight of the building platform, which

can also be quickly replaced via a rail.

This allows for virtually permanent


The molds are created with the layer-wise

application of the particle material

quartz sand, which is glued together

with a binding agent. After the

printing process is complete, the mold

only has to be unpacked, i.e. cleaned of

excess sand. Since sand molds are created

directly from CAD data, they set

the trend in terms of richness of detail

and precision.

Although voxeljet has specialized in

additive manufacturing for the foundry

industry, in general every company

that uses casting processes – hence designs,

processes, uses or optimizes cast

parts – can benefit from voxeljet’s technology.

With the decision to introduce the

VX4000 in the United States, voxeljet

completes its service range for the

on-demand 3-D printing of large sand

molds in this market. “We decided to

place our largest printing system in

the US in order to service growing demand

in the US market directly on location.

Our objective is to strengthen

our most important growth market

with a diversified portfolio of machines,

materials and processes,” is

how Rudolf Franz, COO of voxeljet

AG, describes the great potential of

the US market. Indirect beneficiaries of

this high-end technology are the automotive

industry, the special machine

building sector and the spare

parts industry in particular.


42 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016


1.3 million industrial robots to

enter service by 2018

The automation of the fourth industrial

revolution is accelerating: By 2018,

around 1.3 million industrial robots

will be entering service in factories

around the world. In the high-revenue

automotive sector, global investments

in industrial robots increased by a record-breaking

43 % (2013-2014) within

one year. Viewed on a cross-sector basis,

the international market value for robotic

systems now lies at around 32 billion

US dollars. So says the 2015 World

Robot Statistics, issued by the International

Federation of Robotics (IFR),

Frankfurt, Germany.

The robotic density figure is a key

performance indicator for gauging the

current degree of automation within

the international markets: For example,

the average global robotic density

in producing industries lies at 66 robot

units per 10,000 employees. A total

of 21 countries have an above-average

robotic density. More than

one-half of these highly automated

countries are located in the European

Union (14 countries). Then there are

three Asian economies (South Korea,

Japan, Taiwan), as well as the USA and


The current global leader in industrial

robotic automation is South Korea. In

this instance, the robotic density exceeds

the global average by a good seven-fold

(478 units), followed by Japan

(314 units) and Germany (292 units). At

164 units, the USA currently occupies

seventh place in the world.

At 36 units per 100,000 employees or

about half the global average figure,

China is currently in 28th place. Within

the overall global statistics, this is

roughly on a par with Portugal (42

units), or Indonesia (39 units). However,

about five years ago, China embarked

on a historically unparalleled

game of catch-up aimed at changing

the status quo, and already today it is

the world’s largest sales and growth

market for industrial robots.

Never before have so many robot

units been sold in one year as were sold

in China in 2014 (57,100 units). The

boom is continuing unabated in line

with the forecasts: In 2018, China will

account for more than one-third of the

industrial robots installed worldwide.

“The robotic boom is laying down an

important milestone in the realisation

of the fourth industrial revolution”,

says Joe Gemma, President of the International

Federation of Robotics. “With

their digital interfaces, industrial robots

can be seamlessly integrated into the

networked structures of smart factories.

The international market value for

robotic systems now lies at around

32 billion US dollars (Photo: Andreas


This is a benefit exploited by highly automated

economies and by countries

adopting a new industrial focus. Further

impetus is coming into the form of

the technological breakthrough in human-robot

collaboration: Robotic workers

will in future be found working

hand-in-hand with human staff, helping

to replace traditional, rigid production

processes with flexible structures.”



An advanced foundry investment

in the Ukraine

Chervona Zirka, Metalyt Foundry in

Kirovograd, Ukraine, has installed a

new foundry for agricultural and hydraulic

castings with equipment from

Disa, Kopenhagen, Denmark, Fomet,

Milano, Italy, and Otto Junker, Simmerath,

Germany. The city of Kirovograd

is known for its industry in agricultural

machinery and hydraulic

machines from the company Chervona

Zirka. The foundry tradition had already

started in 1874, when the Bri tish

brothers Robert and Thomas Elvorti began

their business based on an existing

German foundry. From 1922, the enterprise

developed into one of the biggest

producers of agricultural machines in

the former USSR as “Red Star”. Now the

company Chervona Zirka is the leading

manufacturer in the Ukraine and

the Commonwealth of Independent

States (CIS). The Metalyt foundry is

their own casting supplier. The company

managers had been thinking about

a new foundry since 2006. Their main

target was the requirement in quality

castings to strengthen their leading

position in the CIS Countries. The decision

was to invest in a new own foundry

with state of the art equipment. Almost

all approved European suppliers

were part of the considerations until

the investors board decided to engage

the Danish Disa as prime contractor,

Fomet and Otto Ju nker.

Despite political and economical

challenges they followed up the agreed

investment in total of approx. 12 million

euro. Disa was the company which

guaranteed the turnkey factory together

with the Italian supplier for automatic

pouring Fomet and the German Otto

Junker for melting. The Ukrainian management

follows the Kaizen approach

and this was implemented in the installations.

Video on the


realized with





Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 43


Foundry technology

48 pages, English, German

A comprehensive brochure describing the expertise of and products offered by

foundry technology provider Fill. Fields of activities include aluminium casting, iron

casting, core manipulation, premachining, decoring, cooling, testing as well as process

engineering and simulation.

Information: www.fill.co.at

Foundry and power plant equipment

40 pages, English, German

This brochure provides an overview of the equipment provided by conveying plant

specialists FAT Förder- und Anlagentechnik for foundries and other industrial plants.

For foundries, the company supplies continuous mixers, moulding lines, equipment

for mechanical and thermal reclamation, pneumatic conveying as well as process

control and data collection solutions.

Information: www.f-a-t.de

Metals analyzer

4 pages, English

A product brochure featuring the Q6 Columbus spark spectrometer by Bruker-

Quantron. The brochure provides technical specifications of the system and gives an

overview of the range of applications and the system’s benefits including efficiency


Information: www.bruker-elemental.com

Casting coolers

4 pages, English

This product brochure provides key data of the VCC-type casting coolers offered by

JML. The machines are designed in lengths between 10 and 40 meters and widths

between one and 2.6 meters. The coolers provide mild cooling in the upper temperature

range preventing defects due to structural changes and stress cracking.

Information: www.jml-industrie.com

44 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016

Melting technology

12 pages, English

A brochure presenting melting technology provided by Marx. Comprehensive descriptions,

technical data and illustrations are provided of channel furnace plants,

crucible furnace plants and furnace plants of specially compact design. Also aspects

like power supply, service and maintenance are covered.

Information: www.marx-gmbh.eu

Sand regeneration

4 pages, English

This brochure describes plants and processes offered by Webac for the recovery and

reclamation of foundry sand. The company supplies individual regeneration plant

components as well as self-contained systems for thermic and mechanical sand regeneration,

such as the jet reclaimer working on the principle of air jet friction.

Information: www.webac-gmbh.de

Water-cooled high-current cables

12 pages, English

A product information brochure on the range of water-cooled high-current cables

offered by Druseidt Elektrotechnik for electric arc and ladle furnaces. Numerous

construction details are provided, including cable heads with rotating joints, the

Druseidt crimp technology, solderless pressed cable heads as well as special cable


Information: www.druseidt.de

Filter products

28 pages, English

A brochure presenting the filter products offered by SQ Group. Application, features,

storage and shelf life as well as specifications are set out for each product, for

example, zirconia foam ceramic filters, black foam ceramic filters, integrated filter

sections, pressed ceramic filters, filter cloth and ceramic pouring systems.

Information: www.shengquan.com

Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 45


Fairs and Congresses

Aluminium China 2016

July, 12-14, 2016, Shanghai, China


China Die Casting 2016

July, 12-14, 2016, Shanghai, China


Middle East Foundry Summit 2016

July, 20-21, 2016, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Metal 2016

September, 20-22, 2016, Kielce, Poland


International Foundry Forum 2016

September, 23-24, 2016, Dresden, Germany

Contact: marion.harris@bdguss.de

Ankiros 2016

September/October, 29-01, Istanbul, Turkey


56th International Foundry Conference 2016

September, 14-16, Portoroz, Slowenia


Advertisers‘ Index

Hannover-Messe ANKIROS FUARCILIK A. S. 48

atm Gesellschaft für aktives technisches

Marketing GmbH 7

Bühler AG Uzwil 2

GTP Schäfer GmbH 27

Jasper Ges. für Energiewirtschaft &

Kybernetik mbH 11

Regloplas AG 25


46 Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016



Preview of the next issue

Publication date: September 2016

KSM Castings has invested 13 million euros to manufacture magnesium components at the location in Hildesheim, Germany

(Photo: Andreas Bednareck).

Selection of topics:

R. Piterek: Shaping the future with die casting technology

The KSM Castings Group with plants in Europe, the US and China strengthens its competitive position as an automotive supplier

with a major investment of 13 million euros in the value creation of magnesium components at the location in Hildesheim,

Germany. The foundry group reorganized in recent years – and consistently invested in modern lightweight construction with a

global reach

M. Görke u. a.: Influence of particle size distribution on molding material parameters

The optimum utilization and processing of raw materials plays an important role in the efficient production of castings. The benefits

of optimized grading curves with respect to the factors influencing the gas permeability are presented in this article

M. Weil: The longest ductile iron casting comes from Krefeld

23,5 meters was the intended length of a crossbar for a two-column machining center that customer Tos Kurim from Brno,

Czech Republic, wanted to order. The Siempelkamp Foundry in Krefeld won the contract for the longest ductile iron casting

of the world


Pub lish er:

Ger man Foundry As so ci a tion

Ed i tor in Chief :

Michael Franken M.A.

Ed i tor:

Robert Piterek M.A.

Ed i to ri al As sist ant:

Ruth Fran gen berg-Wol ter

P.O. Box 10 51 44

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Casting Plant & Technology 2/2016 47

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